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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A handheld real time thermal cycler for bacterial pathogen detection.

The handheld advanced nucleic acid analyzer (HANAA) is a portable real time thermal cycler unit that weighs under 1 kg and uses silicon and platinum-based thermalcycler units to conduct rapid heating and cooling of plastic reaction tubes. Two light emitting diodes (LED) provide greater than 1 mW of electrical power at wavelengths of 490 nm (blue) and 525 nm (green), allowing detection of the dyes FAM and JOE/TAMRA. Results are displayed in real time as bar graphs, and up to three, 4-sample assays can be run on the charge of the 12 V portable battery pack. The HANAA was evaluated for detection of defined Escherichia coli strains, and wild-type colonies isolated from stream water, using PCR for the lac Z and Tir genes. PCR reactions using SYBR Green dye allowed detection of E. coli ATCC 11775 and E. coli O157:H7 cells in under 30 min of assay time; however, background fluorescence associated with dye binding to nonspecific PCR products was present. DNA extracted from three isolates of Bacillus anthracis Ames, linked to a bioterrorism incident in Washington DC in October 2001, were also successfully tested on the HANAA using primers for the vrrA and capA genes. Positive results were observed at 32 and 22 min of assay time, respectively. A TaqMan probe specific to the aroQ gene of Erwinia herbicola was tested on the HANAA and when 500 cells were used as template, positive results were observed after only 7 min of assay time. Background fluorescence associated with the use of the probe was negligible. The HANAA is unique in offering real time PCR in a handheld format suitable for field use; a commercial version of the instrument, offering six reaction chambers, is available as of Fall 2002.[1]


  1. A handheld real time thermal cycler for bacterial pathogen detection. Higgins, J.A., Nasarabadi, S., Karns, J.S., Shelton, D.R., Cooper, M., Gbakima, A., Koopman, R.P. Biosensors & bioelectronics. (2003) [Pubmed]
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